Woman facing arson charge
A WOMAN, 51, will appear in court today charged with arson after an alleged attack at a Rockhampton boarding house on Saturday.
Police allege the woman set a curtain alight in the Kent Street building about 10pm, with the subsequent fire causing damage to the wall and ceiling.
The male occupant of the unit was asleep at the time, but was woken by the smell of smoke and escaped unhurt.
A neighbour alerted authorities to the blaze.
“It was a very good save,” a Queensland Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said.
Nearby residents of the boarding home yesterday said the incident was the latest in a long line of ugly episodes in the area during recent times.
They say a group of people is causing havoc on the block.
One person intended calling Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten to see what could be done about the problem.
Mr Schwarten yesterday said he would meeting police on Friday to talk about the rising level of street problems and look at new ways to tackle the issue.
He said complaints about problem public behaviour and street violence were higher now than at any other time in the past 20 years, with the majority of complainants saying much of the elevated unrest was being caused by a dysfunctional element of the community.
“Some say it’s due to the toughening of laws at Woorabinda, others say it’s a small number of publicans serving people who are drunk and drugs are also a problem as well,” Mr Schwarten said.
“Rockhampton has the highest move-on rates anywhere in Queensland and that tells me we have a significant civil disobedience issue.
“This needs a whole-of-community approach; just moving people on is not solving anything.
“Nor is it right to think you can simply jail people.”
None of the handful of residents The Morning Bulletin spoke with yesterday wanted to be identified because they were concerned about the possibility of future harassment.
All said the problems were making life in the area a nightmare.
“It’s like a ghetto here,” one person said.
“You just don’t go out after dark.”
The person said nearby homes had been regularly robbed, members of the group did “their business” in yards, property was commonly damaged and animals had been attacked.
“We’ve got to do something.”
Another said: “The problems are rife at the moment.
“We’re getting regularly harassed.
“Just on Friday night there was a big scene over the road at Samos Fish Bar.
A police spokesman yesterday said more detailed information about reported incidents in the area should be available today.